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Author Talk: October 2012

Seeking a better life on the Western frontier, Tarsie Raines sets off for Kansas aboard an unusual wagon train, accompanied by her friends and their children. But when tragedy strikes on the prairie, can they trust God with their dreams for the future? In this interview, Kim Vogel Sawyer talks about the inspiration behind her new novel, A HOME IN DRAYTON VALLEY, as well as the research she conducted for the book and what she wants readers to take away from her work.

Question: Where did you get the idea for A HOME IN DRAYTON VALLEY?

Kim Vogel Sawyer: One day, in a tiny spurt of curiosity, I posted a question on Facebook: What kind of story would you like to read next? One “friend” replied she’d love to read a wagon train story. I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be able to sustain a 100k-word book on the trail, but I liked the idea of incorporating a wagon train. So I began contemplating reasons why people chose to leave one part of the country for another, and soon the characters were coming to life in my head. So I must credit Kelly from Facebook for planting the seed that led to this particular story.

Q: Why is A HOME IN DRAYTON VALLEY relevant today?

KVS: I think most people have someone in their lives whose behavior or attitude causes them pain. It’s easy to love those who don’t cause us hardship; not so easy to love those who make our lives difficult. Yet Jesus calls us to love our neighbor --- all of our neighbors --- as ourselves. God’s unconditional love for me should encourage me to love unconditionally...and while writing the story I had the chance to reevaluate my means of dealing with the “difficult” people in my life.

Q: Did the book involve special research?

KVS: I researched several different topics for this story: herbal cures, prohibition (which took place in Kansas much earlier than in most states), wine-making, and wagon travel, to name a few. It was easy to get caught up in the research and forget about writing! The history lover in me thoroughly enjoyed exploring, and I hope readers will enjoy uncovering bits of reality in this fictional account.

Q: What is your goal or mission as a Christian writer?

KVS: Always, I want to tell a story that shows the reader ways to deepen his/her relationship with God. I hope my stories are entertaining and will carry the reader away to another time and place for a few enjoyable hours, but more than that, I want the stories to edify. When a reader tells me something in the story has opened her eyes to God in a new way, my heart sings.

Q: What is the take-away message you want readers to receive after reading A HOME IN DRAYTON VALLEY?

KVS: Very simply, God is the Healer. I can’t fix anybody, including myself. But He can. I have to be willing to place myself and the situation that challenges me into His keeping. God makes beauty from the ashes of my life when I find the courage to let go.